"I'm super proud of our team's performance this weekend - five of our fencers made top 16 and four of those five fencers continued into the top eight of their respective weapons. Penn State is an extremely physical and emotionally exausting tournament with 3 rounds of pools and 15 touch direct elimination bouts right after," says senior captain Sarah Pak.
An individual tournament, the Garret Open is played in four rounds, which consist of three pools followed by direct elimination. Pools are won or lost round-robin style, and rankings are compiled based on a combination of bouts won and the ratio of touches earned to touches received. Those with a ranking above the cut-off threshold move on to the next round. The fourth and final round is organized into a tournament bracket. All three squads boasted impressive results, with several Bulldogs making it into the direct elimination round.
In foil, Pak and junior manager Anna Zhou both won their first bouts in direct elimination and advanced to the Table of 8, the stage immediately before semifinals. Pak and Zhou brought home sixth and fifth places respectively. Samantha Wood and Camille Pham both made it to the third round, and first-year walk-on Grace Baghdadi finished before several recruits and ranked fencers, an impressive start to her time in collegiate fencing.
In epee, all six Bulldogs in attendance advanced into the second round and a majority of the squad entered the third round. Earning places in direct elimination were Lucy Friedmann, Joy Ma, and Michelle Nam. In two fiercely fought bouts in the Table of 8, Ma and Nam would lose 14-15 and 13-15 to finish in sixth and eighth places respectively.
In saber, Lauren Kim competed all the way through to direct eliminations where she lost in the Table of 16 to the eventual competition gold medalist. For sophomore walk-on Yoanna Lazarova, the Garret Open was her first-ever fencing tournament and a positive experience to build upon.
Throughout the entire day, the team benefited greatly from the support and advice of the men's fencing team, who came out in force for the entirety of the day. Zhou comments, "I'm so proud of how the team did today! Also, I loved how supportive the men's team was and am so excited for the rest of the season." On Sunday, the Bulldogs are looking forward to returning the favor.
Looking forwards, Pak says, "despite the difficulty of this tournament, everyone fenced hard and strong, and I think we all know what we need to work on when we get back to practice. I'm excited to see what the rest of the season holds!"
report by Jacqueline Hayre-Pérez '21, Yale Sports Publicity